GSL 2019 Season 3 Round of 32 - Group G Battle Report
We're down to the final two groups in the GSL round of 32, with only four spots left up for grabs in the illusive round of 16. Our six groups so far have seen some surprises like always, with the path not being so crystal for some big names like soO and INnoVation. We currently have five Terrans, three Zergs and four Protoss in the round of 16 so far. Pretty even if you ask me, although by the end Zerg may be detached from Protoss and Terran.
I was away on holidays for Group F, but we saw a throughly surprising group. From the outset it seemed Classic and INnoVation were extreme favourites, but both lost out in their opening matches against Creator and KeeN respectively. It then lead to a high stakes winners match, with both players on the brink of a surprising finish. KeeN took it in a close 2-1, sending Creator to the deciding match.
Whilst INnoVation had a close series against KeeN, Classic tore through him in simple and quick fashion, sending himself once again into a series against Creator. From here Classic pulled through, avenging his loss earlier to book his place in the round of 16 in possibly his last ever GSL.
In today's group F we have three players who could all easily advance today. Our sole Zerg is Armani, our sole Protoss is Dear and doubling up the Terran goodness we have FanTaSy and GuMiho.
We'll start with our outlying player, Armani. Returning last season in the initial group Armani sadly played the role of punching bag, Maru and INnoVation putting 2-0's cleanly up against him. He's back for another stab at it though, this time finding a group which is much easier on paper compared to his last. Despite this though, Armani is still my pick for punching bag oncemore. Recent results haven't been groundbreaking, despite qualifying for the ASUS Summer tournament in Finland. Aligulac seems his win sparingly against players like Bly, Hellraiser and Losira, whilst losing to Dream, Cure, Zest, DNS and Elazer. I've heard nydus worms are pretty good though..
It'll be a ZvT in our opening game, as Armani faces off against GuMiho. A second place at Super Tournament has been the highlight of 2019 so far for the towel Terran, as apart from that it's been round of 16 consistency. In truth I don't see that changing, GuMiho's play inventive as always, but often falling on it's face or simply losing it's surprise factor due to the recent upsurge in mech play. He should get through this group today to continue his consistency but I see a world where he loses today. As a side fact, he alongside Armani has qualfied for ASUS ROG in Finaldn.
I'll put this one out there, I love FanTaSy. From his return late last year he has always provided us with some great games, being one of the pioneers of the cyclone mech and constantly utilising funky build orders to try and get an advantage against his opponent. A round of 16 finish in last seasons GSL shows his promise, narrowly losing out 2-1 to both Hurricane and RagnaroK. All eyes will be on if he can repeat that feat today.
Our last player in this group is Dear, who has shown a some great form in 2019 and will be looking to continue into this third season of GSL. Round of eight finishes in season one and at IEM put Dear on the map oncemore, with our Newbee Protoss showing some exiquite play some days, some below average days on others. What Dear will we see today?
I see GuMiho moving out in first, while FanTaSy will advance in second.
GuMiho vs Armani – TvZ
Armani had it up against him in this series, as we were joined on the desk by Creighton and NoRegret for some insightful commentary. An early third went down for Armani, with GuMiho moving into a standard 1-1-1. Armani moved into an early roach warren though, seven roaches popping out to send our Zerg player aggressively across the map. It was scouted with time by our Terran though, who prepared a tank on the ramp to see the roaches deflected. GuMiho went into an early third and mech from this, Armani responding with swarm hosts, roaches and a nydus network. By 8:40 Armani had a big supply advantage, with GuMiho up on workers but now facing a siege. The swarm hosts continued to add value over the next few minutes with the locust waves, Armani seemingly only becoming more and more ahead in this game. GuMiho kept holding and holding though, refusing to die despite the constant pressure. Brood lords seemed on the horizon as GuMiho moved out aggressively but was pushed back, forced into a defensive position once again. He had made it to the 15th minute but GuMiho wouldn’t live to see the 20th minute. One locust wave saw five tanks die and in an instant GuMiho had 33 army supply. Armani taking an impressive game one as roaches ran riot through the Terran base.
There was no breathing room into the second game for GuMiho, Armani with a 14 pool and gas to boot. It forced GuMiho into cancelling his command centre, our Terran player once again behind. It forced the towel Terran into a two tank push, Armani defending well despite freely droning for the few minutes before. Swarm host nydus was the way forward for our Zerg once again, GuMiho moving into mech again to see us with a repeat of game one. Despite Armani’s control of the game our Terran had more supply than last game but despite that he couldn’t put any pressure on Armani. I was talking about an advantage for GuMiho but one decisive fight from Armani catapulted him 80 supply ahead. Brood lords were on the horizon again but before we could see them gg was called without the final fight. Armani extremely happy, GuMiho visibly upset.
GuMiho 0-2 Armani.
FanTaSy vs Dear – TvP.
With Armani waiting in the winners, this match took a strange turn with the potential of facing an ‘easier’ opponent to progress. With GSL Cobalt our battleground, both players spawned on the same side to see the rush distance at a minimum. Phoenix met a quick third command centre for FanTaSy, with our Terran moving into an extremely greedy economic build. The phoenix killed six workers but didn’t scout the third, Dear assuming a defensive position as he moved into colossi and a standard game ensued from here. Both players sat back and poked through the narrow passageway but retreated to avoid an overextension. One push by Dear ended this map quickly though, despite even supplies and a concave, there was no answer for the colossi beams. It was a big win for Dear as he crushed through, sending us to Turbo Cruise for game two.
A mine drop met a robotics opening for Dear, with little to no action in the first five minutes. Our first taste of battle was FanTaSy cancelling the third of Dear, our Protoss player behind on bases, with his counter push doing little in the face of the Terran. This game was as standard as they come, Nine minutes in and a big set of upgrades had finished, it was time for Dear to go full Protoss. He attacked through the slow zones, eating tanks shots but blanketing every bio clump with storms. Suddenly the game was over again in surprising fashion. If you wanted two games to show Protoss imbalance, you’ve got them here folks. In fact the fight was so strange I had to go back and replay it. It seemed that with a single upgrade advantage FanTaSy’s tanks barely shot into the slow zone, with most of the shots focusing on a split archon as the rest of the army snuck through. From here the tanks lost their advantage and stormed reigned unopposed. Perhaps tank positioning the key mistake here from our Terran player.
FanTaSy 0-2 Dear.
Armani vs Dear – ZvP
Armani found himself surprisingly in the winners match and our Black Night player went for a sneaky proxy hatchery to start. It was later than normal though, Armani missing his timing by seconds as the nexus was planted. The drone continued to roam and scouted the robotics facility, with Dear adding a massive swell of gateways for a big all in. With only gateway units Dear pushed hard, Armani holding with a spine crawler backed by roaches and zerglings. He seemed like he had held with flying colours but it all went wrong in an instant. Armani was caught with ravengers in the middle of the map, losing extra zerglings in the main base of the Protoss player. Dear’s second wave of the attack commenced from here with a rejuvenated assault. This time the defence didn’t hold, the third falling before another push crushed through his base. Armani disappointed in his chair as he conceded the first game.
We saw the same proxy hatchery attempt once more, with Armani’s timing again seemingly off by seconds as the nexus was thrown down. This game on Thunderbird saw Dear head into a dark templar drop, with the cloaked assassins doing little before being shut down. A spire follow up for Armani saw an initial six mutalisks, before roaches and zerglings produced en mass. With both sides floating money more bases were thrown down, as Armani’s attack postured but did not commit into Dear. From here Armani tried to tech into hive but Dear’s scary mid game army wouldn’t stand still. The beefy army crossed the map and pummeled into Armani, resulting in a one sided fight that sees Dear advance onto the round of 16.
Armani 0-2 Dear.
Dear advances to the round of 16.
FanTaSy vs GuMiho – TvT
Our early game saw the first reaper from each side exchanged, with FanTaSy going into a hellion drop for an initial assault. Despite a medivac floating around from either side no damage was done until the end of the fifth minute, where FanTaSy’s hellions found a window to drop in the main. Eight scv’s were roasted as on the other wide, GuMiho’s cyclone drop was instantly denied and destroyed. From here FanTaSy had the advantage as he moved into bio, GuMiho into mech. Our PSISTORM player sat behind his tank line and held firm, FanTaSy moving straight into four more starports as soon as he confirmed mech. With our casters talking about the possibility of a super long game FanTaSy’s army found the hole in GuMiho’s defence. Running in and hitting his disables the marines massacred 35 scv’s, tanks setting up in a perfect line to see GuMiho tap out.
We went into New Repugnancy with a strange possibility, GuMiho leaving today without even winning a map. There was nothing crazy by either side in this one to begin, a cloaked banshee for both sides. A late reaper scout scouted the cloak though, with FanTaSy cancelling his cloak and starting a raven. Without scans though and a raven a long way away, FanTaSy’s worker count crumbled. Nineteen workers died in a shambles defence, GuMiho assuming a massive advantage one foot in the door for his first win. Twenty five supply up, as well as a base, this one seemed it was GuMiho’s to lose. Trying to be aggressive, GuMiho made some questionable plays, losing his air superiority. A throw was possibly on the cards until a doom drop re-established his dominance. Now 50 supply up it took just one more push to get his well needed win.
Our first series to reach three games today, these two had their tournament lives on the line. Another set of passive non proxy openings saw no banshees from either, a medivac from GuMiho, a raven from FanTaSy. A double cyclone drop killed a supply depot before dying to a lock on again, GuMiho making up for that loss with a nice drop into the main. After that was dealt with FanTaSy swung into a counter, using his massive bank of raven energy to force a lift of the third. He stayed on two bases for a few minutes from here, eventually freeing his third for the price of 20 scv’s. That scv loss placed FanTaSy in the lead, both players moving slowly into a massive air arms race. It resulted in FanTaSy pushing out, setting up a massive siege line outside GuMiho’s fourth. With a viking advantage, paired by a liberator FanTaSy pushed forward tactically, moving forward inch by inch until gg was called by GuMiho. Our towel Terran, who most assumed as favourite, out in bottom place.
FanTaSy 2-1 GuMiho.
FanTaSy vs Armani – TvZ
With Armani crushing through GuMiho earlier, we all held our breath to see if he could repeat his heroics and advance in second place today. Standing in his way was FanTaSy, who moved into a fake cloak before stimpack. Hellions roamed the map but couldn’t find much damage, our opening five minutes seeing nothing much else apart from drones, drones and more drones. We were in the game of drones but a mistake saw a single liberator kill off nine. The next few minutes saw FanTaSy pick off some creep and posturing, building a late fourth as our Terran player assumed a 20 supply lead over his opponent. FanTaSy looked to have a lead but with a few moves, Armani pulled himself back into the lead. Baneling run by’s killed off workers and army position seemed on point but the game from here then slipped into FanTaSy’s lap.
Now he was making all the right moves, countering on Armani’s indecision and lacklustre control, multi-tasking him in multiple areas. With Armani attacking up a ramp another great fight was taken, FanTaSy killing two bases on the return. From here our Terran sat back and teched into a massive supply of ghosts. A nuke killed 13 drones and ghosts were sniping banelings at this point, Armani still in the game but barely at that, gg coming later to signal an end to this back and forth game.
Our blockbuster game was to come on New Repugnancy, a fusion core meaning only one thing. Battlecruisers. Armani response was a nydus but it was scouted by FanTaSy and a bunker came down. A hole in his wall would put a big thorn in his defence and see it compromised. Unable to defend two places at once the nydus birthed in the main, leading to a frantic few minutes where FanTaSy held the line with battlecruisers.
With spores in his base our Terran lost over 20 scv’s but emerged alive, blinking his battlecruisers across the map to kill queen after queen after queen. From here it felt like a fairly even game, but with banelings killing 20 scv’s, FanTaSy’s push had to do damage. With Armani’s supply in corruptors his army lacked bite, FanTaSy taking big trades to see the game on a knife’s edge. Armani held though, just jumping on the tanks in time to save the game. From here we had reached the 15 minute mark and the carnage and craziness was about to commence.
Both players established their economies again and 10 brood lords were finally morphed in with FanTaSy stuck without vikings. As Armani advanced FanTaSy initiated the base trade, with the vital fight coming down to vikings vs queens rather than corruptors for reign of the skies. Both players went below 20 workers and barely three bases between them, action happening everywhere. If Armani could get air dominance, this game would be over.
As the minutes ticked on past 20 though it became increasingly desperate for FanTaSy. He stuck in there like he always does however, using a hidden base to acquire some income. The vikings had built up and looked to attack but ran into fungal growth, crippling the Terran’s chance to win once again. We got to the 25th minute with this game still going, constant action happening everywhere. With the hidden base found now though and infestors up, the finishing blow came soon after on the 27th minute mark. Armani 1-1, an absolute insane game.
After that insane game two, perhaps you see why I want FanTaSy in the round of 16. Thunderbird was our final battleground, with nothing crazy happening in the opening five once again. Cloak was scouted but no cancelled in a strange double bluff. Armani wouldn’t fall for it though, a spire following the minimal banshee harass. Our game was passive for the next minute, FanTaSy cleaning creep and looking for an opening with his mine, bio and hellbat force. FanTaSy continued to pile on pressure, trying his hardest to move into the fourth of his opponent.
In an instant the armies circumnavigated each other, both players exchanging bases as a debatable trade by Armani saw him lose the supply advantage but still on a big worker lead. The pressure was kept on by FanTaSy though, as he weathered a massive supply block to pick off another base. A massive fight on the 16 minute mark saw Armani take a massive win. From here the Zerg had somewhat of an advantage but this, like the last game was gripping and insanely hard to write on. I advise everyone right now to watch this series, as my words right here can never do it justice.
With action everywhere we headed into the 22nd minute again, FanTaSy on three bases, Armani on one long distance after swinging punches at each other for the past five minutes. From here it took one last fight to end the series, FanTaSy moving on with an absolute bonkers final series.
FanTaSy 2-1 Armani.
FanTaSy advances to the round of 16.
Dear and FanTaSy advance to the round of 16.
Series of the Day: Armani vs FanTaSy
Game of the Day: Armani vs FanTaSy Game Two.
GSL Code S continues on Saturday July 20 at 13:00 KST with Trap, Patience, Solar and Taeja.
All pictures courtesy of AfreecaTV and Liquipedia, all stats courtesy of Aligulac.